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Yet Another Love Story
Reviewed by Donovan Johnson
Milana Zilnik is a jazz pianist in the Contemporary piano genre, and has recently released her newest album, “Yet Another Love Story.” Let's begin with the obvious – Milana is an incredibly talented pianist, with a very fluid jazz style and a technique that's clearly taken a great deal of work and effort to achieve. There isn't an abundance of jazz in this genre of music, so whenever I get recordings like this one to review it's always a special treat and a breath of fresh air. Add to that the artistry and talent that Milana possesses, and you have an experience worth repeating over and over again.
“Yet Another Love Story” is a recording that makes it's way through the many stages in a modern romantic relationship. Beginning with “Anticipation,” working through “Joy,” “Disgust,” and “Sadness,” and finally ending with “Love,” this is an extremely well thought out recording. It's clear that Milana was creating music to suit the theme of the album, walking herself through the journey itself and manifesting that journey through music. Interestingly, you can hear the thoughts and emotions in the chord progressions. You can visualize and relate to the experiences that Milana is communicating through song. Just as she herself took this journey, she now takes the listener through it to experience and to become a part of. The result is a piece of work that requires engaged listening and a readiness to connect with memories and experiences, past and present. The first of my top three picks on this album is track two, “Surprise.” Have you ever been interested in someone, only to find that the feeling was mutual? That's what this piece is all about. Bouncy, lively, and all over the keyboard, “Surprise” captures the feelings of excitement and elation of this very special time in a person's life. It's also quite unpredictable, which is once again fitting, and not a musical accident. Milana has thought through every aspect of this recording from the artwork, to the flow, right down to every single note and chord progression in every song. These are the traits of not only a master musician, but a master artist. Milana has sculpted and created pieces within a mural of artwork, using the forethought of a skilled mathematician. That said, it's no *surprise* that “Surprise” expresses all of this beautifully. “Fear” is a dissonant piece that begins in the low section of the piano, bringing to life a confusing and foreboding introduction that leads to the mid-range on the piano. From here, we hear lots of atonal movement and dissonance within the hands, as each one creates a melody that clashes with and counters the other. This creates tension in the listener, which is built upon as Milana makes her way up and down the keyboard with her right hand. One moment she'll be playing in the higher registers only to jump back down into the lower ones a moment later. The piece is confusing indeed, just as it was intended to be, not only in it's emotional content but also musically. Think of the old phrase that we've been subject to at one time or another, “It's complicated.” That's exactly what this piece conveys. The final track on the album is also my third pick, “Love.” This piece is quite the opposite from “Fear,” just as it should be. A lush melody can be heard weaving in and out of the beautiful, melodic progressions in the piece. Here we have a gentle yet stable sounding finish to the album, rounding out the music on the recording perfectly and bringing our journey to conclusion. Amazingly, Milana is also able to interject a sense of much more yet to come in the music of this piece, making it the only song on the album that speaks to the future as well as to the present. You listen, and you know that while the journey has ended, the story is far from over... “Yet Another Love Story” is a brilliant album by an incredibly talented artist, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys piano jazz and music that says something “a little different.” It may not be what you're used to, which is exactly why you'll love it. It's masterfully composed, played and recorded, and great lengths have been taken by Milana to appeal to a broad range of listeners without compromising her style. “Yet Another Love Story” gets my highest recommendation.